The Korea Herald


[AUTOMODE] Zooming in on the Detroit auto show

By Korea Herald

Published : Jan. 15, 2017 - 17:35

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Leading global automakers began the new year at the annual North American International Auto Show, where groundbreaking innovative automobiles and related technologies made their debuts.

The Detroit auto show offers an outline of this year’s auto trends.

“Self-driving and cutting-edge technologies are a hot topic at the auto show. Automakers are trying to differentiate their models by pushing forward unique technologies,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim University.

Cadillac, a subsidiary of General Motors, shared plans to install a semi self-driving feature called Super Cruise in its new flagship sedan CT6 released this month.

The highlight of the autonomous driving feature is its Eye Tracking System that prevents a driver from falling asleep on the road by observing the driver’s eye movements and facial expressions via an infrared camera.

When the system senses the driver is falling sleep, it will shake the seat and steering wheel.

Sports sedans also emerged as a trend at the auto show.

In line with the trend, South Korea’s No. 2 automaker Kia Motors rolled out its first premium sports sedan, the 2018 Kia Stinger.

The Kia Stinger, Kia Motors’ first premium sports sedan (Kia Motors) The Kia Stinger, Kia Motors’ first premium sports sedan (Kia Motors)

The rear-wheel drive can accelerate up to 100 kilometers per hour in 5.1 seconds from zero, which is the fastest among Kia vehicles, according to the company.

The Stinger was crowned the best design among production cars at the Eyes on Design Awards, the show’s official design awards.

Fast-back styling and side fender grills that resemble an aircraft are distinctive features of the model, Kia said.

The Tiger Nose grill that symbolizes Kia vehicles is centered in the front, with full light-emitting diode headlamps placed on each side, completing a strong and balanced design, it added.

“SUVs have been in demand recently. Through advanced technology, SUVs produced these days have the advantages of sedans, such as riding comfort and exclusivity,” said professor Kim.

Meanwhile, German premium auto brand Audi unveiled its Q8 concept SUV, which offers the practicality of a crossover and the dynamic styling of a coupe.

Audi’s Q8 concept SUV (Audi) Audi’s Q8 concept SUV (Audi)

The Q8 concept was designed based on the original Audi Urquattro introduced in the 1980s, emphasizing strong curves and a spacious interior, the firm said.

A plug-in hybrid system offers a maximum horse power of 442 and a maximum torque of 71.3 kilograms per cubic meter.

The mass production model of the Audi Q8 concept is expected to be launched in 2018.

Samsung SDI, the battery making unit of Samsung Group, participated in the show for the fourth consecutive year, showcasing its latest batteries for electric cars.

The firm unveiled a battery cell that has the capacity to cover 600 kilometers on full charge. Through a fast charge, drivers can recharge the battery up to 80 percent in just 20 minutes to cover 500 kilometers, the company said.

Samsung SDI added it is aiming to mass produce the high energy density battery in about four years.

The firm currently supplies batteries to global automakers such as BMW, Ford and Chrysler.

Some 30 leading auto firms are to roll out 40 new models and exhibit 750 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan, where the show is runs through Sunday. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (